Wednesday, 09 September 2015 15:19

Body Symmetry MD

Wednesday, 09 September 2015 14:40

Anderson Hair Sciences Center

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 16:26

Sleep Sanctuary: The Secret to Success

All naturopaths follow a similar basic philosophy. Rather than treat a diagnosis with natural remedies, we look for the combinations of stress and toxic exposures that caused your health to deteriorate. Once these have been identified, we work to remove the toxic burdens and support your healing with nutrition, herbs or homeopathic remedies. Sounds pretty simple, right? But there's one major stumbling block to success, and that is getting your body to switch from "go-go-go" mode (or "stress" mode) to "relax and heal" mode at the end of the day. Which brings us to my number one secret: Creating a sleep sanctuary.

It might surprise you to know that electrical devices in your bedroom are the biggest interference factor to getting your body to relax and rejuvenate when you go to bed at night. Not only does this make you more vulnerable to health problems, but it contributes to faster aging. And nobody wants that! When I first started working with clients in 1990, it was pretty simple: Remove the TV out of the bedroom. Those were the days before cordless phones, cell phones, computers and iPads. Today, it can involve much more (not to mention getting your spouse on board with the idea)!

healthypeopleHere are the basics: remove any device within your bedroom that you don't have to have, especially your wireless router. Small emitters (clock, fan, etc.) should be four feet from any edge of your bed. Big emitters (cordless or cell phones, computers, televisions or anything that recharges) should be eight feet from your bed. Measure not just from your head, but from the closest edge of your bed. Unplug your router, turn off all wireless devices (printers, etc.) and put cell phones and iPads on airplane mode in addition to turning their wi-fi mode off. I know it's a hassle, but try it for two weeks and see if you sleep better.

Want the hard science? Read "The Body Electric" by Robert Becker (an online search gives you a PDF version for free) or go to www.emfscientist.org. The science is definitely there. But the most important proof is your own results.


Wishing you sweet dreams,
Debra MacIntyre, ND

 

 

Debra MacIntyre, ND
Debra is a traditional naturopath, board certified by the American Naturopathic Certification Board with over 37 years of experience in the fitness and health care fields. She holds a nutrition certification from American Health Science University, completed her Naturopathic degree from Trinity School of Natural Medicine and has received advanced training in Biological Medicine, NAET allergy elimination, and homeopathic hormone rejuvenation. She's been in private practice since 1994.

Sponsored by: Natural Health Solutions | 11285 Elkins Road/Suite J1 | Roswell, GA 30076 | www.nature-heals.com | (770) 817-8028

 

Your face is your public façade. It reflects your genetics and life choices. Combine this with the social pressures to look your best, and it quickly becomes apparent that one's facial appearance can have deep psychological impact on self-confidence.

We are all hard-wired to recognize things we define as attractive or abnormal. It is this refined sense of facial aesthetics we all possess that makes facial cosmetic procedures so demanding. Good results should go unnoticed, while bad results can be impossible to disguise.

When performing surgical or non-surgical facial rejuvenation, cosmetic rhinoplasty or facial reconstruction, the ultimate goal should be to create a natural, beautiful appearance. Achieving this goal consistently requires artistic vision, surgical talent, meticulous attention to detail and years of experience.

PHOTO-1While facial plastic surgery can improve an individual's appearance, the real power lies in its ability to enhance one's self-confidence and sense of well-being. Choose your facial plastic surgeon wisely. Your face is worth it!

Dr. Yellin's patient on whom he performed complete facial rejuvenation: injectable facial volume, upper eyelid blepharoplasty, lower eyelid tightening, a lower face and neck lift and CO2 laser skin resurfacing.

 

Seth A. Yellin, MD, FACS
Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery

Dr. Seth A. Yellin is founder and director of Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery, Laser & Aesthetics Center. As one of Atlanta's most well-respected and sought after facial plastic surgeons, he has treated thousands of patients for more than 20 years in practice, with the goal of making each and every patient happy. Dr. Yellin is nationally renowned for his expertise in creating a natural look when performing cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery and 3D facial volumization. He was Chief of Facial Plastic Surgery at Emory Healthcare from 1999 to 2011, and he has appeared on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and Fox Television News to discuss facial aesthetic procedures.

Sponsored by: Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery, Laser & Aesthetics Center | (770) 425-7575 | www.MariettaFacialPlastics.com  |  Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center | (770) 422-1013 | www.Mariettaderm.com

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting American men to date. And while symptoms can include urinary and sexual problems, this
slow-growing disease can easily go unnoticed. Stay healthy with these tips and regular checkups from your primary care physician.

What are the Risk Factors?

  • Age – Two-thirds of prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65. The risk of contracting prostate cancer increases with age.
  • Race – Found in men from diverse ethnicities, prostate cancer is most commonly found within African American men and Jamaican men of African heritage.
  • Family History – Men with family history of prostate cancer are more likely to get it themselves, so they are encouraged to be examined beginning at age 45.

What about screening and diagnosis?
According to the American Cancer Society, men 55 years or older should be offered a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a blood test to check for levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA). Signs to look
for include:

  • Frequent urination or difficulty urinating
  • Hesitant urination (difficulty emptying the bladder)
  • Painful urination

If your doctor suspects signs of prostate cancer or you have a significant change in your PSA values, tissue will be taken from your prostate and examined under a microscope. This test is called biopsy.

PHOTO1How do I treat prostate cancer?
If diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is best to discuss treatment options with a radiation oncologist and a urologist. These doctors specialize in treating prostate cancer with radiation therapy or surgery. The treatment choice is ideally left up to the patient, but the doctors can provide guidance based on your specific findings and disease characteristics.

Treatment options include:

  • Surgery
  • External beam radiation therapy
  • Prostate brachytherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cryosurgery
  • Active Surveillance

 

 

Craig Wilkinson, MD

Centers: Georgia Center for Total Cancer Care at Preston Ridge

Medical Degree: University of Miami School of Medicine

Residency: University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, Department of Radiation Oncology and Department of Internal Medicine.

Special Interests: Radiation Oncology/Bracytherapy, Breast Cancer, Prostate/Genitourinary Cancers, Lung Cancer, Head/Neck Cancers, Gynecological Cancers, Lymphomas, Gastrointestinal Cancers, Central Nervous System Cancers, Stereotactic Radiosurgery (Brain and Extracranial), and Benign Disorders

Dr. Wilkinson is married and lives in the Alpharetta area with his family. He is active in the local community and is involved in the cancer committees of the three local hospitals in the Alpharetta area. He has also been an integral part in starting Tumor Board/Multidisciplinary Conferences at two of the three local hospitals. Dr. Wilkinson enjoys playing intramural sports, new "technology" (i.e. toys!) and traveling.

 

Sponsored by: Atlanta Oncology Associates | (770) 255-7500 | www.atlantaoncology.com
Alpharetta | Atlanta | Eastpoint | Greensboro | Hawkinsville | Macon | Over 15 Hospitals and Centers

 

 

Monday, 31 August 2015 16:20

Invisalign: Alternative to Braces

Unlike traditional braces or retainers, Invisalign is the modern approach commonly used to straighten teeth. These smooth, comfortable plastic trays are removable, see-through and specifically sized for your teeth. Find confidence in your smile with these answers to frequently asked questions about Invisalign.

How does Invisalign work?
Upon visiting your dentist, each set of virtually invisible Invisalign aligners are custom made to fit your needs throughout the treatment process. With no metal brackets or wires to be tightened, until treatment is complete, each set of new aligners will be used every two weeks to shift tooth position.

How long is treatment?
In most cases, the average length of time needed to straighten teeth for adults is 12 months. For teens, the treatment process varies but can be determined by your doctor. Regular appointments with your dentist will ensure progression of your treatment.

What are the benefits of Invisalign?
Compared to other suggested teeth-strengthening procedures, Invisalign offers many benefits that include:

  • Convenience
  • Comfort
  • Virtually invisible
  • Pain-free
  • Removable
  • Fewer visits to the dentist
  • Treats a wide array cases (overbite, underbite, crowding, spacing, crossbite)

How do I correctly care for my aligners?
To ensure optimum cleanliness of your aligners, regularly brush and rinse them in lukewarm water.

What happens after treatment?
Once treatment is complete, retainers will be worn at night for one year. This will help maintain the proper alignment while the teeth are first settling into their new position.

 

PHOTO1DR. Terry J. Lemons
Lemons Dental

Dr. Terry J. Lemons is founder and president of Lemons Dental. As one of Atlanta's premier cosmetic and general dentists, he has treated thousands of patients here in Atlanta, the Southeastern and Midwestern parts of the United States and from Europe.

Dr. Lemons graduated from Indiana University Dental School in 1989 and Emory University General Practice Residency in 1990. He has practiced in Johns Creek, Ga., since 1996. Spanning his 26-year career, he has encountered every form of cosmetic dentistry and enjoys developing end results that are in harmony with a patient's face and that enhance a natural appearance.

Sponsored by: Lemons Dental | 4060 Johns Creek Pkwy Bldg B | Suwanee, GA 30024 | (678) 293-9956 | www.lemonsdental.com

 

 

Monday, 31 August 2015 15:43

Urinary Incontinence

Dear Readers,

Have you experienced occasional or frequent urine loss? It can happen when you laugh, or sneeze, or cough. It can occur when you wait too long to use the lady's room. Urinary incontinence causes anxiety and embarrassment for millions of women.

What causes urinary incontinence? Some women are genetically predisposed to this condition. Others might have medical conditions that can cause the problem. Pregnancy, heavy lifting, incorrect performance of pelvic floor exercises, use of medications that result in higher urinary production, and poor urinary habits are also among the possible causes. On rare occasions, incontinence can be unmasked by surgical correction of adjacent defects.

Can incontinence be corrected without surgery? Absolutely, depending on the cause of the condition. Pelvic floor exercises and medications can be extremely effective either alone or in combination with other forms of treatment. In fact, a relatively new device, called "InTone" can help patients experience exceptional results.

What is "InTone," and how does it work? I discovered InTone for our patients approximately three years ago. InTone is an FDAapproved device that is placed vaginally at home by the patient for 12 minutes a day. We program the devices in the office, setting them precisely for each individual patient, then teach patients how to use them. Within these 12 minutes at home, patients perform biofeedback-guided contractions and experience muscular stimulation by the device, which engages pelvic floor musculature, tones it, and helps patients recognize the correct muscles to contract. Many of our patients see improvement within just two weeks. Out of over 100 patients that have undergone non-surgical pelvic floor rehabilitation with InTone in our practice, surgery for urinary incontinence was needed for only 3 patients. Each of them improved, including women with previous pelvic floor reconstructive surgery. What's more, the device is 100% covered by Medicare and some other insurers, and guaranteed by the manufacturer. Again, no medication or surgery is required in a vast majority of cases.

Is surgery ever needed to correct the problem? Yes, mostly in cases of significant structural problems not correctable by physical therapy with or without InTone. This involves cases with complex pelvic floor defects (pelvic organ prolapse) or persistent urinary incontinence. Surgery can be performed with or without the meshes and are highly individualized depending on the patient's needs.

What can you expect when you visit my office for treatment of urinary incontinence? You can expect loving attention and care, extensive knowledge of gynecologic pathology, diligence, and thorough investigation by examination and other diagnostic techniques. Additional methods of diagnosis may be used as needed, followed by careful selection and implementation of the best strategy to correct the condition.

LOGOWith much love,
Assia Stepanian

P. S. Let us meet in October's Women's Issue to address Holistic and Minimally Invasive Approaches to Gynecologic Surgery and Women's Health.

 

Dr. Assia Stepanian grew up in Moscow, the daughter of two illustrious physicians. In fact, much of her training was supervised by her mother, Dr. Leila Adamyan, the developer of some of the most advanced techniques used today in the practice of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery.

Dr. Stepanian has authored and coauthored articles, book chapters and classifications in gynecology. She has presented nationally and internationally. Her devotion to women's health was exemplified by her 2001 creation of the first and the leading media resource with the focus of teaching minimally invasive gynecologic surgery worldwide.

Dr. Stepanian is quite candid about her devotion to her patients. "My focus is always on learning about the total woman," she says. "I spend a great deal of time talking with each patient, and I find that I am both teacher and student. It can be an emotional experience for us both. Our visits invariably end with a warm hug. I am extremely fortunate."

PHOTO-STRIP1

755 Mount Vernon Highway, NE | Suite 240 | Atlanta, GA 30328 | (404) 549-3224
Total Managed Care-Offering Options to Support a More Holistic Approach for Women | www.AcademiaWomensHealth.com

 

 

Monday, 31 August 2015 15:35

My Best Self: Carden Wyckoff

You likely wouldn't bat an eye if we told you that recent UGA grad Carden Wyckoff has interests and desires just like many young adults: graduating college, catching favorite artists at Piedmont Park music festivals and joining her brother in Spartan Races. But when you realize she has muscular dystrophy (specifically a type called fascioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, also known as FSH or FSHD) you start to understand what an impressive young woman she really is.

Tell us a little bit about FSHD.
FSHD is a degenerative muscular disease that affects primarily the face, shoulder and arm muscles and ends up attacking all smooth muscle in the body. Currently, there is no treatment or cure. Carrying out day-to-day tasks is challenging and takes time. I cannot lift more than five pounds. Walking and using stairs are difficult, and I tire very easily.

What are some ways you give back to the community?
During my tenure at UGA, I volunteered at the Athens Area Humane Society and Athens Regional Hospital. In addition, I am a goodwill ambassador for the FSH Society and a disability rights advocate. At UGA, I lobbied for six curb cuts to be installed on campus, a ramped sidewalk going from a bus stop to the top of North campus and a temporary platform at the UGA Arch to allow all students to partake in the century-long tradition of passing through it.

What is your favorite quote?
"Be the change you wish you see in the world." – Gandhi

Tell us about your rececnt Spartan Race with your brother Spencer.
I piggybacked on my brother all five miles of the race to raise awareness for FSHD. I have never seen a more supportive community in my life. One of the obstacles was to vertically climb a muddy mountain, which was easily 100 feet, with only the assistance of cargo nets and rope. Five supporters surrounded and braced us to assist us all the way up, and once we reached the top, we had a huge standing ovation from other Spartans cheering us on and asking about our cause. It was truly an amazing feeling.

Tell us more about your push to make UGA's Arch more accessible.
In January 2014, Khaled Alsafadi approached me about his dream to make the UGA Arch wheelchair accessible. We launched the "Make UGA's Arch Accessible" Facebook campaign early February, and it went viral on campus. By the end of April, the administration granted the first ever temporary platform the day following commencement so that all students, regardless of their mobility, could partake in the tradition of passing through the Arch. The administration denied a permanent solution, but this has only fueled my passion to keep fighting.

What helps you be your best self?
The nature of my degenerative disease drives me to be my best self. Knowing that I probably won't be able to do something in three months or a year makes me get out of bed in the morning and advocate for change.

Monday, 31 August 2015 15:05

Healthy Families

Ovarian Cancer

Though Mom may be the only one in the family to be at risk for an ovarian cancer diagnosis, it has the potential to affect husbands and kids too. Doug Barron and Chase Powell know that firsthand. After women in their lives experienced the disease, they each became dedicated to ovarian cancer awareness.

Doug Barron
Barron's mother-in-law, Wendy Sheron, passed away in 2007 from ovarian cancer. Barron says, "I knew I had to do something." He joined Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance's board of directors in 2008, becoming executive director in 2010. "Looking back at the time leading up to her being diagnosed brings anger and frustration, which fuels my drive and passion for the GOCA mission. The risks and symptoms were right there in front of us – silent, yet shouting. We just didn't know what to look for. She is the reason I am so dedicated to educating women of all ages about the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer." Barron says his mission, and that of GOCA itself, can be summed up in this phrase: "Until there's a test, awareness is best."

Chase Powell
Powell's own mother, Lorraine Powell, sat on the board of directors for Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance. She had the disease herself and threw her support behind GOCA because, as she said, "Until people know what ovarian cancer is, no one is going to really put forth the effort in finding a cure." She focused on education because she herself didn't know the symptoms until she had the disease. After she passed away, her son Chase became involved with GOCA and is now the program manager of the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance. "I needed to do my part in getting the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer out to the public," he says.

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Maternal Mental Health

A crucial but often ignored aspect of family health is Mom's mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 20 percent of women who give birth each year in America show symptoms of postpartum depression, which can include everything from insomnia and irritability to feelings of shame and severe mood swings. To help dispel some myths about postpartum mental health, we asked Dr. Toby Goldsmith, the director of Emory's Women's Mental Health Program, to weigh in.

MYTH: Most women get the "baby blues." New moms should just deal with it themselves, and it will go away.
Sometimes mood swings, anxiety and irritability persist and worsen after the first two weeks post delivery. Dr. Goldsmith says, "After that 14-day mark, a woman should for the most part return to her previous functioning. If she does not return to 'normal,' then reaching out for help is appropriate.If a woman has thoughts about harming herself or someone else, we have moved well beyond the realm of the baby blues, and she needs immediate help."

MYTH: New moms can just "snap out of it" if they try hard enough.
Dr. Goldsmith says, "I believe that's the number one misconception." In reality, she explains, it's "a strong support network" that helps get women past postpartum depression, not the mom white-knuckling through it alone. "Having people to help you, to answer questions and to remind you to take a nap can be vital to feeling well." Beyond that support, Dr. Goldsmith adds, "Medication and therapy have been shown to be very beneficial."

MYTH: New moms shouldn't share their experiences.
On the contrary, Dr. Goldsmith says, talking about the experience of postpartum depression can be a huge help. "Say it out loud," she encourages. "Reach out to your obstetrician or midwife. Often they can get the ball rolling with treatment." She also recommends taking to social media to connect. "There is an amazing blog called Postpartum Progress, and Postpartum Support International has a very active Facebook page. Women can get support any time of the day or night with these tools."

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Joint Replacement

If you've got a creaky knee or a shoulder giving you trouble, you're not alone. Dr. Nathan Jove, an orthopedic surgeon at DeKalb Medical, answered your most pressing joint replacement questions so you can get back to moving and living how you really want to.

My knee/hip/shoulder has been painful for a while now, but I'm not ready for surgery yet. What non-surgical treatments are there for joint pain?
Currently, treatments that are strongly supported by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) include physical therapy, weight loss, cortisone (steroid) injections and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

I'm in pain and open to the idea of surgery. Should I dive right in?
In order to have a joint replacement, you usually must first try physical therapy, anti-inflammatories and some forms of injections to have insurance approve it. In the end, a joint replacement is for when you can't do the things you want to do on a daily basis. If you want to walk two miles per day but walk 200 feet then stop because of pain, and if your knee hurts constantly to the point where you're willing to undergo surgery to fix it, you are probably the best candidate.

Am I too old to have a joint replacement surgery?
If a person can't do the things he or she wants to because of joint problems, age should not be a deterring factor. I have done a joint replacement in someone under 25 years old and another in someone over the age of 95. We are performing surgery in older patients more frequently, with better anesthetics, and with better pre-surgical and postsurgical management by medical doctors. Thus we are having safer and better outcomes for those older than 80.

How long will a replacement joint last?
Many people think the surgical components don't last a long time after surgery. The good news, however, is that components are lasting longer. We have 15 to 17 years of data with over 90 percent satisfaction, and with the higher-end materials, we are expecting components to last longer than ever. These new advances in materials, including vitamin E plastics and ceramics, are the most promising surfaces for long-term implant survival, and DeKalb Medical is at the forefront of letting their surgeons use these.

What are the pros and cons of joint replacement?
The cons or main concerns related to the surgery are blood clots and blood clots that travel to the lung called pulmonary emboli. For this, we have all patients on blood thinners in the post-operative period. We are concerned with infection as well, which is why we place all patients on antibiotics prior to surgery and continue it for 24 hours after surgery. The pros are restored mobility, decreased pain, less stiffness, better motion, ability to walk longer distances and patients feeling like they no longer have to limp because of pain.

 

Prostate Cancer

Georgia Urology's Dr. Scott Miller
reviews the facts for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Find out even more at prostaware.org!

Believe It
Though it might seem hard to believe, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in males. Dr. Miller says prostate cancer numbers are "similar to those for breast cancer."

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Test It
In early stages, prostate cancer doesn't usually cause symptoms. Sometimes, though, men will experience difficulty emptying their bladder and other urinary symptoms. "Once prostate cancer symptoms develop, it becomes very difficult to cure," Dr. Miller says, so it's crucial to get tested regularly, especially for older men, African American men and men with a family history of the disease. He recommends a baseline PSA (prostate specific antigen) test every year, but the age at which men first start the test is between him and his doctor.

Treat It
"Prostate cancer treatment has radically improved in the last decade," Dr. Miller says. "Highly precise robotic surgical removal techniques continue to evolve to lower the chance of side effects. For cancer that has spread outside of the prostate, we now have advanced drugs that can specifically target the prostate cancer cells using newer hormone-manipulating techniques or one's own immune system."

 

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The Importance of Vaccinations

From infancy into their later school years, children can achieve good overall health with vaccines as part of their checkups. According to Dr. Sam Gold, the chair of WellStar Medical Group's pediatric committee on safety and quality, "The goal of vaccination is to prevent serious illnesses that are known to put children at dire risk of major illness, such as meningitis, developmental delay, deafness and even death."

In recent decades some people have had a persistent, yet scientifically inaccurate, fear of a link between vaccines and autism and other issues, but Dr. Gold assures his patients, "Vaccination has been shown time and again by many different scientific and medical groups to be very safe." Without vaccinations, Dr. Gold points out, "Outbreaks can and do happen, as has been seen within the last year with measles in more than half the states in the country, as well as whooping cough."
For these reasons, it's key to stay up to date on all appropriate vaccinations to keep your children, your family and your community-at-large as healthy as possible.

 

Friday, 28 August 2015 15:58

What’s in Your Medicine Cabinet?

By Morgan A. McFarland

That half-empty bottle of oxycodone in the back of your medicine cabinet may be more dangerous than you think. Prescription narcotic medications play an important role in pain management after injury or surgery, but for many people, use of prescription medication doesn't end when the injury heals. Misuse, abuse, addiction and overdose are all risks associated with access to prescription medication. Proper storage and disposal of medications, along with education on the risks and warning signs of addiction, can help prevent your medicine cabinet from becoming a gateway to drug abuse.

SB-1Prescription Drug Abuse
Abuse of prescription medication is more common than most people think. In fact, drug overdose (including both illegal and prescription drugs) has eclipsed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that up to 20 percent of people over age 12 have used prescription drugs for reasons other than those prescribed at least once in their life. Trust for America's Health, which compiles national public health statistics, ranks Georgia as having the 36th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the U.S., with nearly 11 people per 100,000 dying from overdose.

"Non-medical abuse of prescription drugs has continued to increase each year at least by a percentage point," says Chris Hinds, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in practice in Marietta for over 30 years. "According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which has the best epidemiological survey data, [in] 2013 there were at least 1.5 million young people ages 12 and older who initiated use with prescription pain relievers. It's those prescription drugs and things in medicine cabinets that seem to, year after year, be keeping pace with cannabis and alcohol. That's definitely a problem."

Who's At Risk?
While the causes for addiction vary from person to person, many prescription drug abusers share common risk factors. Men have a higher risk of developing a prescription drug abuse than women. Individuals with chronic pain, such as from an injury or neurological disorder, are at elevated risk. Genetics can also play a role; those with a history of opioid addiction in one or both parents are more likely to develop an addiction themselves. Drug addiction often occurs in conjunction with other mental health issues, and it may involve patients misusing medication prescribed for anxiety or other mental illness along with pain medications.

SB-2"The majority of my clients are people who have anxiety, stress or depression," says Dr. Clarence Massie, Jr., a professor of psychology at Georgia Perimeter College and counselor at Assurance DUI School. Throughout his 15 years of experience working with substance abuse clients, he has seen that prescription drug addiction is often the result of converging events, such as a combination of injury and major stressors like job loss or relationship instability. Dr. Massie says these can lead to "abusing the drugs, taking them more frequently than recommended, then getting a second prescription when [they] don't necessarily need it."

Watch for the Warning Signs
Prescription drug abuse manifests through physical and psychological symptoms. Some physical warning signs of opioid use include constricted or "pinned" pupils, slurred speech, sedation or sleepiness, confusion, euphoric behavior, itching and nausea. Opiates can also cause depressed respiration, which in the event of overdose can lead to death.

Some of the psychological symptoms are just as telling, such as preoccupation with the medication or feeling panicked when medication becomes inaccessible. Crystal Bradshaw, with Synergy Counseling Innovations, gives the example of a woman who became "extremely aggressive to staff, yelling and making a huge scene in front of other clients because we would not prescribe her child ADHD meds. The child did not exhibit symptoms or signs of ADHD – we believe the mother was seeking the prescription for herself."

SB-3The Danger of Overdose
Prescription drug use in teens can escalate as teens develop a tolerance, sometimes transitioning to crushing and snorting or injecting oxycodone, according to Hinds. Heroin use, often as an escalation from prescription narcotic abuse, is also becoming more prevalent among Atlanta youth.
Luckily, many overdose deaths from this escalating usage can now be prevented. Governor Nathan Deal signed the Georgia 911 Medical Amnesty Law in 2014, providing legal protection to overdose victims or those seeking emergency assistance on their behalf in the event of a drug overdose. The law also offers better access to the life-saving medication naloxone (Narcan), which counteracts the effects of narcotic/opioid overdose. Georgia Overdose Prevention, a grassroots group dedicated to reducing overdose death, can help volunteers receiving training in the use of naloxone and find pharmacies that will fill prescriptions of naloxone for those with loved ones at risk of narcotic overdose.

Georgia also has an excellent program for education and prescription drug abuse prevention. The "Think About It" campaign provides additional information on safe storage of prescription medication, helps Georgians locate drug disposal or "take-back" sites and offers education for healthcare providers, law enforcement, teachers and parents through videos, pamphlets and community education seminars. These resources, and your own awareness of potential problems, can help you make your medicine cabinet and your home a safer environment for everyone.

Editorial Resources
Crystal Bradshaw, Synergy Counseling Innovations – synergycounselinginnovations.com
Georgia Overdose Prevention – georgiaoverdoseprevention.org
Chris Hinds, LCSW, Hinds Therapy – hindstherapy.com
Clarence Massie, PhD, Assurance DUI Schools – assuranceduischool.com
NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse:
The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction – drugabuse.gov
Think About It: Prevent Rx Drug Abuse – rxdrugabuse.org